‘Fear the Walking Dead’: The Limits of ‘Do No Harm’ (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead Season 6, Episode 6, “Bury Her Next to Jasper’s Leg.”]
Fear the Walking Dead has never been kind to its romances. Madison (Kim Dickens) lost her husband Travis (Cliff Curtis) before “dying” herself (I’ll never be convinced she’s not still out there). Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) lost both of her boyfriends. Morgan (Lennie James) has been separated from his newfound love Grace (Karen David), who is pregnant. Recently-reunited married couple Dwight (Austin Amelio) and Sherry (Christine Evangelista) aren’t doing so hot. And in the churning sea of all that heartbreak, one ‘ship seems to have weathered the storm: newlyweds John (Garret Dillahunt) and June (Jenna Elfman). Or have they?
An explosion at the oil fields sends June and Sarah (Mo Collins) into rescue mode, given that they’re a traveling medical operation. If John had his way, though, that “doctor on wheels” thing would end, fast — he feels Lawton is killing him slowly, and he begs June to run away with him and go back to his cabin. Throughout the suspenseful hour, husband and wife are both faced with difficult choices… and one makes a decision that will have an explosive impact on their relationship.
Here to Help
June, Sarah and John make it to the scene of the accident. Luciana (Danay Garcia) is fine, thankfully, and she explains that there are still people trapped inside the smoking wreckage. Carefully, they all make plans to head back in, and that’s when Pioneers boss Ginny (Colby Minifie) shows up. She’s not so interested in saving people as she is in figuring out who would sabotage her oil-mining operation, and John warns her about the leader’s true nature.
That true nature rears its ugly head when they find an injured Wes (Colby Holman). Ginny, after seeing “The End is the Beginning” spray-painted at the scene of the accident, realizes that Wes had paint cans in his belongings, and tortures him for more information. Wes, who has shrapnel in his stomach, does his best to argue his innocence, but June, horrified at Ginny’s actions, secretly slips him some anesthesia. Wes passes out, and Ginny demands he be moved to the bed of the truck with the rest of the injured (all of whom appear to have turned when they open the doors, but that doesn’t matter for Wes — they deal with the dead quickly, and, by the miracle of improbable, off-screen surgery conducted by Sarah’s untrained hands, he lives.
June Has Had Enough
Everyone makes it to safety except for June and Ginny, who are caught in a second explosion when the wind shifts. When they regain consciousness, the building they took shelter in has collapsed on them, and Ginny gets bit by a walker on the hand. She radios her rangers to demand they rescue her, then takes off her belt to use it as a tourniquet, tying it around her arm. She spots an axe and asks the doctor whether she could do it. “Yes,” June says, “but I’m not going to.” Do no harm only goes so far, it seems, when the patient has driven one’s husband to the brink.
Ginny and June fight, but when Ginny’s unable to gain the upper hand, she starts using her words. With June holding the axe to her throat, she says she’s only trying to help people (riiiiiiiiight), and that these “the end is the beginning” folks are who they should really fear. She also spins a sob story about how much she loves her sister and how she wants June and John to take care of her when she’s gone. All that emotional appealing — plus an offer of giving June “whatever she wants” — does the trick, and June cuts off her hand.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING, JOHN DORIE?!
The rescue crew comes through, and John and June get a teary reunion. That’s the happiest moment they get, though. John still wants to leave, but June tells him she wants to stay in Lawton. Ginny has offered to finally build her the hospital she’s been hoping for.
John says Ginny has “pulled the wool over her eyes,” but June refuses to believe it. She’s ecstatic at the prospect of being able to help people in a bigger way. He’s withdrawn. She asks whether he’ll be following them to the rendezvous point. He agrees. Then, when they come to a fork in the road, he turns while they head straight — leaving Lawton, and his wife, behind.
Other Biting Observations
- This is the first episode of Season 6 that I really wasn’t feeling. Is it still better than Seasons 4 and 5? Oh, absolutely. But there were some huge, huge logical inconsistencies that took me right out of the action, which I’ll get into below. That, and I wish the title had more significance than just the opening few minutes, when Ginny encounters one of the “End is the Beginning” people and, after the woman kills herself, tells her rangers to bury her next to Jasper’s leg.
- I compared Ginny’s situation to Jake Otto’s (Sam Underwood) back in Season 3, since both were bitten on a body part that could be cut off. Out of curiosity, I went back to the episode and counted how many seconds elapsed in real time from Jake being bitten to Nick (Frank Dillane) cutting off his arm, and it was around 35. In The Walking Dead, Hershel (Scott Wilson) had about a minute from being bitten to losing his leg. Ginny took about a minute and a half to even put a tourniquet on, and that’s assuming she managed to stop all the blood flow with her belt as a tourniquet and her jacket on (unlikely, considering tourniquets typically need to be applied to bare skin). Regardless of whether June cut off her hand, she should have died.
- I actually yelled “Oh, come on!” at my screen when the guy June was operating on turned maybe two minutes after he died. Granted, the time varies, but people take longer than a minute to turn: that’s established fact in this fictional world. It made for a neat dramatic scene, but it was universe-breaking.
- All I ask is a legitimate story for Luciana. She went from being a total badass at La Colonia to… well, not having much of anything to do, really. Part of me hopes she was the one who spray-painted “the end is the beginning,” just because it would add some dimension to her storyline again.
- I was really pulling for June to let Ginny die, or for Ginny to die despite June’s emergency procedure. That would’ve overturned this show in incredible ways. It would’ve forced our characters to question whether the masked people are really good. It would’ve put someone else in power in Lawton and thus given a little political intrigue (what if it was Colman Domingo‘s Strand?!). And, it would’ve added some mystery as they tried to figure out what all Ginny was involved in, etc. Killing off the “main antagonist” six episodes in would’ve been gutsy in a Game of Thrones-type way that I’d respect. Instead, unfortunately, Fear played it safe.
- No matter how you slice it, John choosing to leave June is bordering on out of character. I know, I know — he told her Lawton was killing him. But would it not kill him to voluntarily leave his wife, probably for good? I have a hard time believing he wouldn’t just ask her to ride with him and then veer off, leaving everyone behind. If he really believes Ginny won’t hold to her word, why let June go back? If he really believes Lawton is evil, why let June stay? Yes, I know he was willing to leave her to save Janis (Holly Curran), but that was to save an innocent woman, not himself. This was selfish in a way I don’t believe meshes with John’s character, corrupted or not.
- I have no idea how June can feel so convinced she’s getting that hospital when Ginny gave her that death glare as she rode past. Ginny’s not going to forget how hard she had to beg to get June to save her.
- Rating: 2.5/5. This episode was suspenseful and had some great character moments for June, but it’s hard to move past all the ways it goes against the rules of the universe in which these shows take place. That, combined with John’s weird decision, makes this the lowest-rated episode of the season for me.
Fear the Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC